As motorcycle fatalities and injuries have increased in California, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) have stepped up their efforts to promote safety and education, highlighted by Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May.
In 2013, motorcycle collisions resulted in 475 fatalities and 13,143 injured victims. In 2012, 467 people were killed and 12,617 were injured. Nationwide, motorcyclists made up 14 percent of all vehicle-related fatalities in 2013, up from about 9 percent in 2004, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.
“Surviving the ride must be foremost in the mind of every motorcyclist. This means taking a motorcycle safety course, wearing the proper gear, using a Department of Transportation compliant helmet and staying alert,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “Every vehicle has its place on the road, but motorcyclists face additional dangers because motorcycles require exceptional handling ability and are more difficult to see.”
During Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month – and throughout the year – all road users are reminded to safely “share the road” with motorcyclists, and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe. That message is most important in California, which is home to more than 830,000 registered motorcycles – the most of any state – and more than 1.4 million motorcycle riders.
“Californians increasingly get around by means other than cars and trucks. More are bicycling, walking, taking mass transit and motorcycling,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “That also means that everyone needs to be extra cautious and looking out for everyone else, no matter what their means of transportation is.”
The CHP is statutorily responsible for California’s official motorcycle safety training program. The California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP) trains approximately 65,000 motorcyclists every year. As of July 2014, nearly 945,000 motorcycle riders have received training at one of the authorized CMSP training sites since the program began in 1987. For more information or to find a training site near you, go to www.californiamotorcyclist.com.